Thought Catalog
April 28, 2011

Lessons That I Learned From Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

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Everything that I need to know in life, I learned from repeated viewings of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. (With the exception of a few things that I picked up from The Empire Strikes Back.)

I have watched Star Trek II approximately 2,703 times; I can quote even the boring parts — like the part where they’re flying the ship out of space-dock. …It was the only movie that I ever watched back-to-back; I rented the VHS tape when I was twelve, watched the movie for the first time, then rewound and watched the whole thing again — that’s how good a movie it is. It’s the only “Star Trek” film to reference Moby Dick, Charles Dickens, Paradise Lost, the myth of the Fisher King, The Waste Land, and From Ritual to Romance — not-so-coincidentally, it is also the only Star Trek-related thing that I have ever liked.

In grad school, I went on a date with a hottie hipster girl to a standard hipster-type reading at a bar. Two guys read a long parody of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in front of an open-mic. I WAS THE ONLY PERSON IN THE ENTIRE BAR WHO LAUGHED. And I laughed at everything, because I got every single reference. I couldn’t help myself. I also couldn’t prevent myself from making horrifying nerdy asides to my date; asides such as this one — “Of course Captain Terrell would never really do that.”

My date blanched and huddled in her chair, trying to make herself look invisible.

Needless to say, I did not get any “action” following our date.

But as Mr. Spock would no doubt remind us, sacrifices happen for a reason. Yes, I lost out on sex with Hipster Girl No. 137, but my life has been greatly enriched by my massive repeat viewings of “Trek II.” …And today, I would like to share some of the important lessons I have learned from this movie. (Of course, an unstated lesson is never to quote this movie during a date.)

Here is what I have learned. You are welcome.

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VALUABLE LESSONS THAT I LEARNED FROM “THE WRATH OF KHAN”

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1) …For all things, there is a first time.

2) There is no such thing as a no-win scenario.

3) If you meet someone who’s not part of your regular circle of friends, this person might just turn out to be your long-lost son.

4) Russian people are generally useless.

5) Black people tend to make noble sacrifices.

6) You shouldn’t accept a promotion just because it comes with a fancy title; stick to what you’re good at.

7) Don’t ever let someone stick a bug in your ear.

8 ) If you’re talking on the phone and some jerk can overhear you, try to speak in code.

9) It has always been easier to destroy than to create.

10) Obsession can be a bad thing — a very very bad thing.

11) If you strand someone in a distant location, try to check back from time to time, just to see how they’re doing.

12) The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few… or the one.

13) Paradoxically, cheating can sometimes be a good thing.

14) You should avoid two-dimensional thinking.

15) If someone gives you a present, accept it politely — after all, this person could die someday.

16) How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life.

17) If your best friend stands up, gives you kind of a funny look, and then leaves the room for no reason, then your best friend might be thinking about committing suicide. You should grab him and hold him down.

18) However, if your best friend does commit suicide, this will have the effect of making you grateful for your own life, such as it is.

19) In life, there are always possibilities.

20) Khan!

21) Khaaaaan!

22) KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!

23) Foreign chicks are pretty hot — especially when they let their hair down.

24) Ideas begin in words.

25) Every death leads to the beginning of a new life.  TC mark

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